Seagate Helps Vancouver Whitecaps FC Connect with Soccer Fans

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Seagate is providing a big storage assist to one of Major League Soccer's newest clubs. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC kicked off their inaugural Major League Soccer season in March, 2011. As one of the league's two new expansion teams (the Portland Timbers are the other), the Whitecaps rely on their website as a key part of their marketing efforts to connect with fans.

The Whitecaps use several Seagate GoFlex external hard drives to store, share and protect video footage for the team's website. Zachary Ratcliffe, the team's videographer, says the drives' ample capacity gives him that much more creative freedom. When inspiration strikes, Ratcliffe grabs his camera and captures as much footage as he needs to tell a story.

“I shoot a lot of HD video–I probably overshoot,” he admits. “I also save a lot of those files for different uses and formats. Seagate's GoFlex drives free me from worrying about running out of storage space.”

Lots of Video

Ratcliffe shoots, edits and uploads at least one new video each day to the team's website.

“Seagate has definitely made our jobs easier,” says Andrew Chobaniuk, webmaster and multimedia specialist with the Whitecaps. “With Seagate hard drives, we have plenty of room to store all the raw video we shoot. The drives we used in the past were more suited for documents or pictures—not HD video, which takes up a lot of space. I was struggling to find an easy, reliable way to store these big files, and now we have it.”

The team uses two 3TB GoFlex Desk drives, along with a 2TB model, for storing what Chobaniuk calls “a whole slew” of video. Those files include training reports, post-game interviews with players and coaches, highlight clips and features on the team's community outreach activities. The Whitecaps′ web team also compiles loads of video for the reserve squad and the Whitecaps women's team.

Along with leading capacity, the entire GoFlex storage family offers a unique design in which the drive's interface can be swapped out for faster transfer speeds. Rather than using a standard USB 2.0 interface, for example, the Whitecaps can switch out to a speedier USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 connection.

“That's a nice benefit,” says Chobaniuk. “I can work with HD files while they′re on the drive, and I don't notice any delay.”

Bridging Systems

Another nice benefit of the Seagate GoFlex line is how the drives work interchangeably between PCs and Macs; files can be accessed and saved on the same drive without any reformatting hassles. Chobaniuk, who uses a PC, can share the same drive as Ratcliffe, who uses an Apple MacBook.

It's not just about ample storage space and interoperability for the Whitecaps, however. The web team also needs convenience and portability, which is why they also utilize two 500GB GoFlex ultra-portable drives . They use the smaller drives for sharing content with colleagues in the office or at the team′s stadium, Empire Field

“Those smaller drives are great for passing large files around, whether it's right at our desks or during a game at Empire Field,” explains Chobaniuk. “We have a freelance videographer who helps out, for example. He dumps everything he′s shot for us that day onto a GoFlex ultra–portable drive. We then give that drive to someone on our staff, they attach it to their laptops, and up come the video files—fast and easy.”

Speed and clutch performance are key not only for the team's storage solutions, but also for its online marketing activities. The team's website has received approximately 1.4 million visits since its launch in November.

“We rely on our website as one of our most nimble and controllable brand assets,” says Kim Jackman, the club's director of marketing. “It's the most powerful tool we have to communicate with our loyal fans, educate and engage new fans and reach out to the uninitiated to inspire them to try out a Whitecaps FC match. Without an active online presence, I can't imagine how we would create the same kind of community and atmosphere as we have today.”

- By Steve Pipe

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